tv [untitled] March 31, 2012 5:00am-5:30am EDT
>> he made it like everybody was, was announcing "take off your watch." just like the check engine light, if the light's on, even if your car doesn't emit vapors over and beyond what's expected, they won't pass you. they say it will save you problems in the future. that's not epa job, nor is it your job to make it less likely. i don't get it. it made no sense to me at all and she said "you've got to take it off." the rules need to be consistent. for a while we didn't do shoes and the guy had the shoe and some places had shoes and some didn't. now today i notice shoes must not be in a bin but they must be laid flat on the conveyor belt. is that a uniform rule? >> that is not a rule in place today. at one point we actually changed our procedures with shoes and
have subsequently and some time ago changed that back to allow them to be placed in a bin or on the belt, however works best. >> in memphis they have a sign that says they must be placed flat on the conveyor belt. sometimes your shoes can get constructed between two bags. if you care about your shoes, that's not wonderful. the watch thing, it's the inconsistency that gets you. i'm comfortable in my manhood, and that was fine. the guy wanted to pat me down. patted down my chest. it's the same soap i use every day. never have been patted down before on my chest, you know? the machine must have messed up is all i can figure. >> again, i can't speak to your specific situation but i can look into it for you. >> i'm not terribly concerned. it just seems there should be some consistency. the machines may be set at different levels? sometimes you go through and they wanted to look at your arm
and this or that. i'm not the bionic man any -- i wouldn't -- well, whatever. i i don't have any parts that are new or metallic. it just makes no sense. >> so the goal is to be uniform and consistent and at the same time we want to be random and unpredictable at times because we find that's helpful in terms of our security. as i said, i'm happy to follow up on that. >> i agree with mr. boswell there probably should be some type of a system where you have people you know are frequent fliers and safe. one day there was this lady there who's got the richest husband in town almost and she's got a place in aspen and a place in france and they were going through -- i mean, if anybody wants to say alive, it's hurt. they were going through all of her stuff. when they were going through her stuff they should have realized
this woman wants to live. how much do the puffers cost us? >> so the puffers predate my time at tsa. i can take that question for the record and get back to you. we talked earlier about the disposal fee for the puffers. >> they're history, we know that. that was a loser from "jump street," too. if you're a terrorist, you'd go through the line that didn't have the puffer, thinking the puffer worked. in fact the puffer doesn't work and they could have gone through either line. extra security was given at you in the other line. if they looked at you closer in the other line, why didn't they look at you closer in the puffer line? otherwise all the tsa people are great. you have a tough job.
i know you'll make it better. i'll yield back my time. >> i'm informed the puffers were about $30 million. i fly home sometimes on american, sometimes on united. if you're going united at dca, you go through a full body scanner. if you go through american, you go through a metal detector. it doesn't take a rocket science to figure out there's a potential issue there. we now recognize the gentleman from north carolina. >> i arrived a little late. i had a conflicting schedule. maybe these questions may have already been pursued. mr. sadler, what has been the total cost of the twic program to the federal government and the private sector? >> the date the program costs are approximately $374 million and that would include $100 million in appropriations and about $274 million in user fees for individuals who have paid for the twic. >> that's the federal government and private sector both?
>> yes, sir, that's the appropriated money to start the program, the $100 million and $274 million were the user fees when you enroll and get the twic card to you. >> what is the amount of money you allocate for twic administration each year? >> ours is very minimal. $2 million each year. >> annually? >> to date. that does not include the day-to-day expenses of our personnel that do a number of missions, one of those is validating twics at these facilities. >> and how many coast guard personnel are dedicated to oversight of the twic program? >> they're not dedicated solely to twic. they're looking at everything from what infrastructure is in place. those exist at all of our sectors, all of our ports
throughout the united states. one example of that is we recently shut down a facility in miami because it didn't have the appropriate safeguards, unrelated to twic. there were holes in the fence line that would allow people with no business to enter into those facilities. >> and how long has twic been online? >> well, twic was implemented on 2009, april 15th. that's when 2,700 facilities were required to have twic and on that milestone date all facilities were in compliance. the twic reader will be critical as we go forward. that will be the next enabling mechanism. a biometric chip is what provides the next level of security, beyond the visual recognition on the existing twic. >> thank you, gentleman. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. seeing no one else on the other side, i will go to
mrs. blackburn from tennessee for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i thank the committee for allowing me to participate. tsa is something that is important to my constituents. mr. lord and mr. mclaughlin have both mentioned constituent satisfaction, customer satisfaction as a goal. would i just commend to you looking at the economist magazine's online poll, which they have up right now. and the question they're asking is whether or not changes made to airport security since 9/11 have done more harm than good. and at last check, as i checked, it was 87% of the readers agree that changes at airport security have done more harm than good. so, gentlemen, i would contend that we are not doing our best at customer service and i think mr. connolly, my colleagues from the other side of the aisle spoke well to that.
i want to talk to you a little bit about the viper teams. on october 20th, 2011 my home state of tennessee became the first state in the country to deploy viper teams simultaneously at five weigh stations and two bus stations. the teams included your tsos, bdos, explosive detection, canine teams. my office was informed by tsa that the point of operation was for tsa agents to recruit truck drivers into the first observer highway security program. the tsos and bdos involved in the operation were only supposed to be handing out recruitment brochures since neither position has actual federal law enforcement training. however, i've got a couple of posters here you can see back here. if you look at these posters, i'll call that one exhibit a, and if you were watching the video of this transaction, would you see that this individual who
is designated as a tsa employee is walking around and inspecting the truck. so if they were supposed to be handing out brochures, what were they doing inspecting the truck and what type training do the tsos and bdos receive to detect abnormalities or potential threats in semi trucks? mr. mclaughlin? >> thank you. first, i should say the viper you reference in your state of tennessee it's important to note was a joint training exercise with 23 different agency, both federal, state and local where tsi was invited to participate and by all accounts the two or three-day exercise went off very well. it was an important opportunity for to us build relationships, to ensure that in the event of a real national security emergency we have the types of relationships --
>> sir, you're using my time. would i just ask what type train doing they have to actually do these inspections and to detect the abnormalities that would be there on our nation's highways? because they have no federal law enforcement training, correct? >> during this exercise the officers did not conduct any screening of any vehicles nor -- >> let me put up poster number two. then why did they ask to open the top of this -- open this truck and look at this. was there a specific threat to tennessee highways on october 20th, 2011? and was there any intelligence suggesting that a suspected terrorist may be driving a semi truck across tennessee? and were there specific threats that were deferred by conducting
this operation? >> well, i can't talk about threats that might have been deterred. i can tell you again that this was a training exercise, not an exercise based on active intelligence in the state. >> okay. mr. sadler, do you have anything to add to that? >> no, ma'am. >> you don't. well, there again, i want to go back to this question, what kind of specific training do they have to be on the nation's highways conducting these kinds of searches? >> tso and bdos do not receive specific training with regard to screening vehicles in the highway mode of transportation. the canine team appears to be a multi-modal dog that is trained in that mode of transportation. >> so even though tsos have no federal law enforcement training, you are pleased that
they are participating in these type of exercises? >> again, the viper program is set up to provide a visual deterrent and to work in conjunction with our state and local partners in all modes of transportation. and part of that again is to res of an exercise -- >> so these tsos who have been aministratively reclassified from being screeners and processors are given no federal law enforcement training are going to be out on our nation's highways and our seaports and participating in this type of activity? >> i'm not sure i understood that as a question. >> okay. let me ask you this. based on the performance that you have seen with the viper teams and their ability to prevent specific terrorist threats, what kind of grade
would you give them? >> i think that our viper teams do a very good job in a mode of transportation where we have very limited resources. i think our viper teams working in conjunction with state and local agencies do a very good job of providing visible deterrent to people who might be tempted to do something bad. >> a to f, what kind of grade would you give them? >> i don't know i have the experience to say specifically. based in the experience i do have, i would give them a b plus to an a minus. it's a program that is only five years old in totality. >> i would just remind you that your agency has agreed that performance measures need to be developed for the viper teams so there could be such measured results and quantifiable data and we will develop that as we move forward. one last question that i would have for you. have viper teams ever pulled over cars, suvs or vans?
>> i'm not aware of a tsa asset ever pulling over a car or van but i can take that question for the record. >> i would love to have that answer because to my knowledge there is no terrorist that has ever driven a semi-truck. so we find it very curious, the method that was being played with the viper teams and their presence. you can go look at the examples and those were cars and suvs. they were not semi-trucks. i yield back. >> thank you very much. we'll now start our second round of questioning. i'll give it a go for five minutes and then we'll go to mr. cummings. as we talk about the spot program for a minute, if a video spot agent were able to see something that they considered to be suspicious behavior, what's the follow up there?
what can they do? do they engage the person in conversation? what's the procedure when a spot agent detects something. is there something they can do and, if so, can you tell me what that is? >> so in our spot program our officers are trained to observe behavior and engage in casual conversations with individuals. if the circumstance warrants, they can engage local law enforcement for further follow up. >> so if they detected something suspicious, can they stop them from boarding the plane? >> if you're asking can they physically detain an individual, spot officers are not trained, nor do we want them to physically detain an individual.
>> i set a spot officer off for some reason. i can just walk on and get on my plane. they can't stop me. >> i apologize. i misunderstand your question. a spot officer if they have reason to believe that you are suspicious can engage a local law enforcement officer, who will interview you and either send you on your way or ask you additional questions. >> and has a spot officer ever stopped somebody from boarding a plane? >> not to my knowledge. again, there are times when a spot officer will engage in conversation, but i cannot -- i don't know of a time when an officer has stopped someone from getting on an airplane. >> and how much are we paying these guys to chat up passengers? >> so our spot officers are paid in the same rang as our federal officers beginning at the f band and topping out at the g band. somewhere between $37,000 and $50,000.
>> last year in tsa overtight part one hearing by the ogr committee, chairman mika asked some panels about the effectiveness of the full body scanners and whether or not they could detect body cavity inserts or surgically implanted explosive devices and the unanimous answer to that question was no. on july 6th of 2011 the tsa released a notice to airlines warning them of the increased threat caused by explosive implant methods. earlier this month someone posted a video on the internet demonstrating how to defeat these machines. why are we continuing to spend hundreds of millions on technology with such obvious vulnerabilities? and what have you done with respect to the hearing last month and the revelation that they can't detect some of these things? >> first of all, i would point out that recently our administrator testified with
regard to ait effectiveness there and a follow-up hearing as i understand it in the month of april in a classified setting where he'll be able to get into more details. i will tell you we obviously on a daily basis review vulnerabilities in our system and make sure we have mitigation in place. >> is it your plan to replace all the magnetometers with aits? >> that's that an is not our current plan. we're looking at the best way to deploy the best assets we have in configurations that make sense across the system. >> as they're purchased, are they getting deployed in a timely manner? i know there are some warehouses that a lot of this equipment sits in as it gets deployed. the last i heard we weren't using modern deployment techniques like drop shipping
them to the airports. >> to my knowledge there are no aits in the warehouse that you refer to. the aits are being deployed readily and our utilization numbers are improving dramatically on a daily basis. >> and where are we with getting a peer reviewed safety evaluation of these machines specifically for tsa agents near and operating them and frequent screenees, be they frequent flyers. i realize the airline staff are diverted. i saw a pregnant female tsa officer right by one of those machines and was concerned because i understand there's no peer reviewed safety checks there. >> so with regard to the back scanner technology, which is the one that uses radiation, there have been three, as i understand it, independent studies, one from the food and drug administration and one from the u.s. army. in addition to that, the
machines are subjected to regular testing to ensure that they fall within the safe limits. with every test that's been conducted, the units are well below established limits. the food and drug administration and surveys are available on tsa.gov. >> mr. lord, are you comfortable with those? >> i'm comfortable with what i heard. if you're interested in having us conduct follow up, i can talk to your staff after the hearing. >> thank you very much. >> assistant secretary sadler, the go reported that its audit found that tsa had inadequate screening systems in place to identify applicants ineligible for twic and deny the issuance
of tciws to them. what steps has tsa taken to address these findings? >> well, the first thing that we did was recreated an executive level oversight board in coordination with dhs to map out our short term, medium term and long-term strategies to address these recommendations. immediately after receiving the report and recommendations, we retrained the the individuals who collect the information at the enrollment sites, their ability to identify fraudulent documentation. we also made system modification. we can send our fingerprints into that repository and check our fingerprints against what we have and the fingerprints in their repository to see if anybody is say plying under multiple names or identities and then the other long-term project that we're working on is a capability with the fbi. what that means is currently we're required to submit a new set of fingerprints each time we want a criminal history records
check. we're working towards seeing if we can submit the fingerprints we have on file to the fbi to get a criminal history records check without hauling somebody in to submit a new set of prints. and also that capability will tell us if the individual has committed some type of criminal offense in between the applications they make every five years. we took the recommendations very seriously. we're doing the best we can with the program. we want to make it the best it can be. >> mr. lloyd indicated in response to a question from senator busman that a normal driver's license is at least as secure, probably in many cases more secure, than a twic. we did that in coordination with
other agencies, including the forensics document lab at ice. so we did the best we could to make that card secure. you also need to keep in mind that it has a biometric on it. although the readers aren't in place yet, the coast guard dos have portable hand-held readers they can use to do random checks and security checks, as well as do check as far as port security and vessel inspections each year. >> now, general zukunft, coast guard policy letter 1115 implements section 809 but still requires those seeking their first mariner credential to visit a twic enrollment center. essentially complete the twic enrollment process and pay the enrollment fee. i understand that the twic exemption has been estimated by the coast guard to apply to potentially 60,000 of the 210,000 licensed mariners in the united states. is that correct?
>> that is correct. and to day we've only had 69 take advantage of that provision. >> why do you think that is? >> for some they see the twic as an employment opportunity. if an employer asked why do you not have a twic? they see that as advantageous to security inspections each year. >> now, section 809 of the coast guard authorization act who do not need access to secure area of a vessel from a requirement that they obtain a twic. coast guard policy letter 1115 still requires a visit to an enrollment center, essentially,
to complete the enrollment process and pay the enrollment fee. i understand that the twic exemption has been estimated by the coast guard to apply to potentially 60,000 of the 210,000 licensed mariners in the united states. is that correct? >> that is correct. and to date we've only had approximately 68 take advantage of that 809 provision. >> why do you think that is. >> for some it's a great employment opportunity and so if an employer asks why do you not have a kwik, they see that as an advantageous twic. >> i see my time has expired. i yield back. >> thank you very much. there are quite a few other questions and some of the other members did have to ask some questions. we'll be submitting additional questions in writing to complete
the record and also i'd like to leave seven days opened to submit both of those questions and opening statements i'd like to keep each and every member for service to this country and urge you to improve what you and your agencies are able to do and better spend and use the taxpayer money to provide a safe transportation environment for all of us. again, thank you for being here. you're done. coming up here on c-span 3,